The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Progress Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

Read more about this historic project.

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  • Svornost -- May 13, 1880
    Immigrants to Chicago and the West.

    According to reports of the German steamship Agency, there were 50,000 immigrants during the month of April landed in New York. At least 25,000 of these continued on to Chicago and Westward.

    Among these were 4000 Polish, 2000 Bohemians, Germans 1800. Of these 2500 Polish and 1200 Bohemians, remained in Chicago expecting to earn their livelihood here.

    Those who continued further were for the most part people of some means while those remaining were mostly laborers without any property. From present indications there will be as many arrivals, if not more, this month as there were last month. There are plenty of inquiries for farm hands and for servants for there seems to be few farm hands and scarcely any servants among the new arrivals.

    According to reports of the German steamship Agency, there were 50,000 immigrants during the month of April landed in New York. At least 25,000 of these continued on to Chicago ...

    III G, V A 2
  • Denní Hlasatel -- January 18, 1906
    Czechs Settle on South-West Side.

    p. 4, Col. 1.. Anyone able to recall memories of Bohemian California prior to eighteen years ago must surely be filled with astonishment over the great growth of that community. At that time it was such an insignificant settlement, that it was hardly worth mentioning.

    Our sportsmen remember that prior to that time they used to go there to hunt rabbits. True, there are still many rabbits to be gotten there today, but these have already been shot and in some instances are stuffed with sawdust. There, where formerly lay an expansive prairie, now are found splendid streets and business houses, such, we believe, as no city need be ashamed of, and the majority of the businesses and residences are owned by our countrymen. The immigrant movement to Bohemian California is constantly increasing and we believe the time is not far off when this quarter will be a real Bohemian California, as it is now called.

    Also deserving of mention is the growth of Bohemian settlements in Hawthorne, in the vicinity of 48th Avenue; in Clyde and especially in the town of Cicero. One Bohemian settler moved there more than thirteen years ago. He settled in 2an American neighborhood and as he states, he did not have a bed of roses among them. As it was, they considered him as belonging to some inferior nationality, they evaded him, and in every way possible made known to him their contempt and their superiority. However, he paid no attention to them, he did not force himself upon them and strictly minded his own business.

    That way he impressed them and when he was followed by a second and a third settler, and they conducted themselves in the same manner, the Americans of the neighborhood began to realize that they had intelligent people to deal with, and that they had erred when they considered them as something inferior to themselves. They drew closer to them and steadily learned that these Czech people not only were their equals, but in certain instances their superiors. Today Hawthorne is slowly but surely becoming a Czech settlement, a settlement of which we will be just as proud in the future as we are at present of Bohemian California.

    p. 4, Col. 1.. Anyone able to recall memories of Bohemian California prior to eighteen years ago must surely be filled with astonishment over the great growth of that community. ...

    III F, V A 2, III A, III G, I C
  • Denní Hlasatel -- February 13, 1910
    Three Kinds of Bohemians.

    P.1--During the first two months of its existence, the Cesko-Americka Tiskova Kancelar (Bohemian-American Press Bureau) received three communications, which were erroneously thought to refer to the Bohemian people. The "Judge," on the 23rd of December 1909, wrote about the "Kingdom of Bohemia," whose insignia are three balls, and of "Pseudo-Bohemians," who have much regard for neckties, but not for marital ties, (by this I am trying to allude to the pun: Regard for neckties and disregard for family ties). The Chicago Inter Ocean, on the 9th of January 1910, mentioned "Bohemian fashion," as characteristic of taking someone from the office directly to dinner and then to the theatre, without having called for him at his home first. The January Detroit News, had the following caption: "Bohemia bad for girls,"because "Bohemia does not further talents, on the contrary, is detrimental to them, teaches young girls how to smoke cigarets, drink whiskey and cocktails, and renders them unfit for family life." In all of these three cases neither the Bohemian kingdom nor the Bohemians were meant, but "Bohemes" and their dominion, were referred to.


    On August 11th, 1907 the Denver Post brought a long article headed "Bohemia and a book" in which the book "The Belove Vagabond," extolling the charms of Boheme-life was reviewed. This caused the feeling of the Denver Bohemians to run high, and subside only after stormy discussions. It seems, therefore, advisable to deal in detail with the three kinds of "Bohemians" as they are known in the English language and the French as well.

    I. "Bohemians" in the proper, oldest and purest sense, are we, the Czechs. The latin writers called our old homeland "Bohemia" and the nation dwelling there "Bohemians," which word became commonly known in all languages. The Germans call us and our land "Bohemian" and us "Bohemians." The English use "Bohemia"--the latin word taken over without a change--and "Bohemians"; the Italians have "Bohemia" and "Boem."

    Our homeland was, before Christ, peopled by a gallic tribe, named the Bois, which passes historically, in general, as the first settler of the Bohemia of today. Their abode may have been spread over a larger area, but the names "Boj-land," "Boiohaemum," and "Boihaemum," finally adhered to the country which is Bohemia. The famous Roman historian Tacitus, in the first 3century after Christ, writes in his "Germania" that the land in which the Bojs had dwelled is still called "The land of the Bojs"--manet at hoc Boihaemi nomen. Velleius Pateropoulus, Roman historian from the same century, writes, that the country in which dwelled Marobud, king of the Markomans, is called Boiohaemem. The Markomans came to Bohemia after the Bojs had moved to the South. Caeser in his "De bello Gallico" (Gallic War) correspondingly states that in 58 B. C. the Bojs did not any more inhabit the Herctnian Forest which also comprises Bohemia.--Similarly the Greek historian Strabon writes "Buiamon." This name "Land of the Bojs" clings to our homeland in the form Bohemia, giveniit by the Latin writers. The Germans used "Beheim" and the German poet who mourns the Bohemian king Przemysl Otakor II writes: "Kuenic Uz Behem Lant," in modern German "Koenig aus Boehmen land."

    And in the same manner, as they named the land "Bohemia" the chroniclers also called the Slavic people, settlec in it "Bohemi." This word has nothing in common with "Czech," but we have today an over thousand year old right to this name. It is to be noted, that when our forefathers came to the "Land of the Bojs" they had no common name. They were several slavic 4tribes, one of whom settled in the central part of Bohemia and was called the "Czechs." Not until the twelfth century did these tribes take on the collective name "Czechs," and the country Cechy (Czech-land).

    We have therefore acquired a name very much in the same manner, as in the Bohemian country, the new owner was given the old name adherent to the estate. We have been bearing the name "Bohemians" for over a thousand years and there is no doubt about our historic right to it.

    II. In two languages only, the French and the English, have the names Bohemiens and Bohemians, been acquired by a nomadic tribe, dispersed over all of Europe, which we Bohemians call Cikani (Tsigans, Gypsies). They came, by all indications, from Asia, appeared in Turkey in the eleventh century, spreading over Hungary to Polans, and are mentioned for the first time by Bohemian chroniclers in the year 1416. They may have been in Bohemia in the year 1242 as spies sent out by the Tartars, as hinted at in the ancient history written by Dalimil. After the Husit-wars they rapidly multiplied in Bohemia, especially in the sylvan southern portions of the country; but their presence even in the city of Prague is recorded in 5the year 1450. Bohemian tolerance suffered them to remain, although the Gypsies poorly rewarded the hospitality shown to them, by participating in espionage for the Tartars. From Bohemia the Gypsies spread to France about the year 1427, where by reason of their coming from Bohemia they were called by the French--who have never been great geographers--Bohemiens. Mr. Psenka (the publisher of the Denni Hlasatel) was told by Mr. Ledoux, French consul in Prague, that in his investigation of the erronecus appearance of the name Bohemians for Cypsies in the French language, he arrived at the conclusion, that the notorious emperor Sigmund, known for his pronounced dislike of the Bohemian people, had had a part in it, and Marousse's dictionary says: "In France, the Gypsies were mistaken for exiled followers of John Hus."

    That the English confused Gypsies with Bohemians is nothing to be wondered at. The English had no better knowledge of history than they had a hundred years ago. Sufficient to place before the reader, Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale," in which Bohemia is located at the sea shore. The third scene from Act III, defines as the place of action "Bohemia, a desert country near the sea." The learned Ben Johnson chuckled over this geographical ignorance of Shakespeare and yet, nine years later John Taylor, who styled himself "The King's Majesty's Water Poet" relates how, after having visited Prague in 61620, the capital of Bohemia, he was asked, in an interview with Gregory Gandergoose, alderman of the City of London, "If Bohemia be a great town, whether there be any meat in it, and whether the last fleet of ships be arrived there." The good man had drawn his knowledge of geography from that of William Shakespeare.

    III. From the Gypsies, with their carefree life, there was naturally only one step to the third meaning of the word Bohemians. This step was taken by the writer Mrs. George Sand, who in the thirties of last century concludes her roman "Derniere Aldini" by the outcry "Vive la Boheme! Let us deride the pride of the Great, let us laugh at their foolishness, let us merrily spend fortunes, if we have any, let us carelessly embrace poverty, when it appears, let us, before all, preserve our freedom, let us enjoy life at any price, long live the Boheme!"

    In these words of George Sand, is contained the entire realm of the third meaning. Bohemians are artists of all kinds, who live gaily through certain periods of their lives, during which their talents, their wit, and their gifts gained, to sweeten their lives, but could not, up to that moment, 7bring about the condition so necessary for earthly welfare--affluence of money. They know now to muddle through without "mammon," and to spend it wildly and the instant they acquire it, while their heads are forever full of daring ideas, unconventional plans, scorning all of the accredited and settled order of things. These among them, who are ingenious, rise to prominence after a time, but, many of course, perish, remaining on that level. "The Boheme life is an era in artist life which is the prelude to either the Academy, or the hospital or the morgue," says the inimitable Henry Hurger, whose "Scenes from Boheme-life" brought him fame. The originators of "Boheme-life" are the French literati, students and artists.

    The name Boheme presupposes a real talent, actual ingeniousness, and therefore we distinguish, as the "Judge" writes, "real Bohemians" from "pseudo-Bohemians." The latter ape all the good and bad behaviour in Boheme-life without any latent talent budding in them. They inbibe like Bohemians, but produce nothing of artistic value.

    And now to the conclusion: The third meaning is here to stay; it has become acclimatized in the world-languages. We ourselves and our writers, 8like J. S. Machar in his "confiteor" use the word in the sense just described. It only remains to be desired that other nations make the distinction between Bohemes and us, the Bohemians.

    The second name Bohemian leads to confusion only in the English and the French language. The Germans have Zigeuner, the Italians Zingari, but even in English one may use Gypsies, and in French Tziganes. We should, therefore propagate the use of Gypsies in English. In examples of more ancient use the change a cannot easily be effected any more. The character in Michael William Balfe's opera "The Bohemian Girl" is not a Bohemian, but a Gypsy girl.

    And how, the question arises: Shall we use Bohemian, or the newly coined word Czech in English, Tcheque in French, Tscheche in German? Sheer convenience would speak for the new term. But there is something to be said for "Bohemians" as well. In Bohemia for instance the word "Die Tschechen" is inadmissible, as it infringes upon our state rights. It is being pointed out that if "Tchechen" were introduced, while Bohemia is still called "Boehmen," it would indicate, that in "Bohemen" there live "Tschechen" and "Deutsche"--in other words, Bohemia could be divided into a "Czech" and a "German" territory. But as long as the country is "Bohemen" and the nation 9"Bohemen" (Bohemians), the country remains indivisible, and every "Boehme" has to be a citizen in his full right in every part of the country, and not a member of a minority with less rights.


    J. E. Salaba Vojan

    P.1--During the first two months of its existence, the Cesko-Americka Tiskova Kancelar (Bohemian-American Press Bureau) received three communications, which were erroneously thought to refer to the Bohemian people. The "Judge," ...

    V A 2, I C, IV
  • Denní Hlasatel -- May 05, 1917
    An Outstanding Czech-American Lawyer

    Some of our fellow-countrymen still labor under the impression that their interests in case of need will be best served when they seek help from other nationalities, whom they seem to be convinced are superior in conscienciousness or ability to the people of our own blood.

    This holds true particularly concerning affairs transacted in the legal profession. Yet it is a well-known fact that there are lawyers among our people who are excellently qualified in every respect. One of the foremost of these is Mr. Anton Zeman, who enjoys a reputation as attorney in both civil suits and criminal cases. His name has appeared in the Czech and the English language papers innumerable times, and frequently in cases of unusual public interest. A large number of persons, in critical moments of their lives, have obtained most efficient aid from Mr. Zeman; naturally he can boast of a multitude of grateful friends.


    One of the remarkable cases in Mr. Zeman's practice was the one of Jan Siska, who was accused of an abominable attack on Mary Daley, 1147 N. Franklin Avenue. The overwhelming evidence against the defendant resulted in his conviction by a jury before Judge Kersten of the Criminal Court. The well-known Czech club Prazaci (The Boys from Prague) hired Mr. Zeman, who started one of the most ardent and pertinacious defenses in the history of the Criminal Court. The defendant was granted a new trial which, after a brilliant plea by Mr. Zeman, resulted in acquittal by a jury before Judge McKinley. At the banquet given by the club Prazaci in honor of Mr. Zeman the exonerated man thanked his counsel with tears in his eyes; the club presented the attorney with a diploma.

    Another signal success crowned Mr. Zeman's exertions; it was the case of Michael Bradshaw, 2002 W. Hastings Avenue, who was charged with the murder of Policeman McTighe; Mr. Zeman won an acquittal, thus retrieving the young defendant's good name, and restoring him to his mother.

    During the labor trouble of the year 1915, when garment workers figured 3prominently, six of these persons were accused of having slugged and killed a strikebreaker. Mr. Zeman, together with Clarence Darrow, won the case over the strenuous efforts of the State's Attorney to bring about a conviction. In the case against the Czech-American Josef Hurtak, who was arrested by the police as the murderer of another Czech, Jaroslav Dvorak, Attorney Zeman succeeded in establishing the fact of selfdefense, so that the Coroner's jury did not turn Hurtak over to the Grand Jury; and his release followed.

    Mr. Zeman has made a name for himself in many more cases, involving a great variety of charges, such as arson, incest, rape. Equally, in the realm of civil law Mr. Zeman has handled many cases with success. A large percentage of the divorce cases in our Czech-American community are entrusted to him. He lives with his wife Emma at 2612 S. Springfield Avenue.

    Some of our fellow-countrymen still labor under the impression that their interests in case of need will be best served when they seek help from other nationalities, whom they seem ...

    II A 1, II E 2, II D 7, V A 2, III A, I C
  • Interpreter -- [Unknown date]
    The Czechs in Chicago

    Twenty-five years ago the Czechs in Chicago were concentrated along Twelfth Street between Canal and Douglas Park. Even in that period of storm and stress when the great mass of them were newcomers struggling for a foothold they began to put their impress upon the region. Douglas Park itself contains the first statue of a Bohemian ever erected in that state. It is a portrait in stone of the well-known Czech journalist, Karel Havlicek, the man who waged so heroic and desperate a fight for the independence of his people and who died after incarceration, a martyr to the cause of Bohemian freedom. His countrymen remembered him when they secured in America the blessings which he had struggled to win for them at home.

    Libussa Hall on Roosevelt Road in the heart of the district, is another landmark to remind the student of current history that this was once the home of the Czechs in Chicago. And although changing conditions have shifted the center of the population to other places, sentiment still draws the old inhabitant 2to the semi-weekly concerts given there, and Libussa Hail remains to this day a social focus for the race that built it.

    Pressure from newer immigrants long ago began to push the Czechs out of the region. They yield without resistance. Prosperity had come to them and with it a striving for higher standards. They willingly moved westward. Their progress was gradual. The first leg of the forward movement took them into the district around 14th Street. There, following the tradition set up by the earlier Americans they founded their "city" and named it Tabor, after the town in Czechoslovakia where John Zizka long ago assembled his forces in the Hussite wars. Sentiment likewise and filial affection for their Old World homeland, led them to rename various thoroughfares. Thus it happened that Chicago today has its Karlov Street, named after one of the picturesque summits of Prague; its Komensky Street, so called after the greatest of Czech educators, known to the world as Comenius; and its Kostner Street after J. Kostner the Bohemian philanthropist.

    Ten years now have passed since the Czechs and Slovaks began moving into America taking their place, that is in the general and progressive community life of their 3adopted country. More recently the younger and more ambitious new generation has taken another leap ahead.

    Suburbs like Cicero and Berwyn, offering opportunities for real homes, open spaces, gardens and a healthy community life, have attracted these native sons of the newcomers of yesterday, who were eager to get as far away from the tenement memories of their pioneer fathers as they could. Today these regions are beauty spots, gleaming with new brick and stucco dwellings, wholly detached or of the two-family type - a symbol suggesting that the Czechoslovak in America has arrived.

    Already the vicinity is acquiring a character of its own. In the past year a community house containing a theatre and the inevitable Sokol gymnasium has been built on an entire city block. In it are concentrated every species of social activitincluding the building and loan association, an institution well known, it may be mentioned in passing, to the Czecho-Slovak in their native country.

    Twenty-five years ago the Czechs in Chicago were concentrated along Twelfth Street between Canal and Douglas Park. Even in that period of storm and stress when the great mass of ...

    III A, I C, V A 2